M4 relief road, ecology surveys

The brief

A relief road was proposed from Magor to Castleton in South Wales in order to ease rush hour congestion on the M4.

Ecology baseline surveys and protected species surveys were required in order to assess the impacts of the scheme on habitats and protected species which could be affected by the proposals.

What we did

  • Thomson Ecology undertook an extended Phase 1 Habitat survey of the 24km route in order to map the habitats present and to provide an assessment of the site to support protected species, species of conservation concern and protected habitats.
  • A total of 400 water bodies were identified within 500m of the proposed route. These were subjected to Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) assessments to determine their suitability to support great crested newts.
  • 350 water bodies were considered to have the potential to support great crested newts, so were subject to further and more detailed surveys to determine the presence or likely absence of great crested newts.
  • The massive scale and complexity of carrying out this work, liaising directly with Natural Resources Wales and numerous landowners, and directing a large team of surveyors, resulted in
    the Thomson Ecology Project Manager and our in-house GIS team to create a bespoke database especially for this project. This database enabled the survey data, project progress and landowner contact details to be kept updated daily and extracted in report format to inform the client of progress.
  • Surveys were undertaken under licence from Natural Resources Wales./li>

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